Recently, I switched jondjones.com web-hosting from Azure to MyASP.NET. In this tutorial, I will discuss the reasons why I did this. The benefits of using Azure compared to normal shared hosting. If you are building a Umbraco website and are struggling to decide how to host your website then this article will hopefully help your decision.
Hosting Umbraco With Azure
First, to give you some context about the website. This website started out as a portfolio project to help me win contract work. It was built in Wordpress and I infrequently published posts. My issue with Wordpress was the page load speeds were slow, as it was shared hosting my website would fall over for several hours per month due to the hosting company doing 'maintenance' and due to a few plug-ins, the site got hacked a lot.
As I work with Umbraco, updating this site to use Umbraco was an obvious choice. I originally hosted this site within Azure. This site gets around 20 thousand unique visitors, ranging for 50,000-80,000 page views a month and having the option to scale and grow was beneficial. After the site launched, my hosting cost around £150 a month which seemed steep. On the plus side, my page load speeds where ranked 89$ from GTMatrix, it looked better and the number of visitors dramatically increased.
After a few months, I realized I could scale down some of the services and my hosting costs dropped to about £50 a month. To run Umbraco you will probably get away with a shared hosting web application plan. You will also need a database app. The free one is pretty unusable with Umbraco. Page load times took over 20 seconds. I found the only way to get a page load under two seconds was to use the standard tier, which came to about £40 a month.
Why Switch Umbraco Hosting?
Making the site run over HTTPS was something I always wanted to do. I was using MailChimp to manage my newsletters but I switched to using MailerLite. One issue to switching to MailerLite is they require your site to run to HTTPS. Unfortunately, Azure does not support SSL on the basic account. You can only run SSL with the standard of their pricing, which is a big jump in price.
The basic-tier hosting cots for a web-application is around £5 a month. Basic-tier hosting does not support HTTPS. To apply an SSL certificate you need the standard hosting plan, which is £55 a month. For me simply adding HTTPS for an extra £540 on hosting was not worth it. So I looked at other options.
Hosting Umbraco With Myasp.net
After some research MyAsp.Net looked like a good option. They support .NET 4.7.2 so you can run Umbraco V8. The hosting charges came to $5 a month, which would save me over £500 a year on hosting. They supported SSL for an additional £40 for 2 years. So by switching after 3 months, I would have saved more money and also had my site running over SSL/HTTPS.
Upgrading the site definitely isn't as nice as Azure. My Asp.net supports web deployments, so I can push directly from Visual Studio which is nice. I had a few issues getting permissions correct.
I've been using My Aspnet for 3 months, initial page loads are definitely slower than the more expensive Azure hosting, but after a page was cached the site speed is the same. One massive issue is My AspNet got hacked and my site was down for 24 hours. Apparently, it has never happened before but as someone new to their service my vote is still out.
How Should I Host My Website?
If cost is a factor in your hosting decision, then I recommend My Aspnet, or, Umbraco Cloud. If you want to run HTTPS then there will be a big price increase for running your site within Azure so again avoiding Azure will save you some money.
Running with Azure I had no outages in 2 years and the site ran slightly faster. Over 10 years, the change in hosting will save me £5,000 so its worth the saving.
To answer the question is difficult as it all depends on your needs. If you run a big e-commerce site I would use Azure. If you want to run a hobby project, or, brochureware site for a client where the money is an issue then Azure is nice but there are cheaper options available to you.